Summer cookouts outside mean gathering around the grill and while there’s something scintillating about open flame foods, keep your cool with a lady finger icebox cake.
What is an Icebox Cake
The premise of an icebox cake is simple: whip cream, spread it between layers of cookies and chill. But, of course, we can’t help but jazz it up with a crunchy chocolate drizzle, soft ladyfinger cake-like cookies, and coffee-soaked Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Dried Mission Figs.
Mocha lady finger icebox cake is the kind of cake you can slice once chilled and set, or if you want to dip the lady finger cookies in the fig-scented leftover coffee, letting them soak, plan on chilling in a trifle bowl and scooping the dessert into pretty glasses or bowls.
1(8-ounce) bagBlue Ribbon Orchard Choice Mission Figlets or Sun-Maid Mission Dried Figs, stemmed and sliced crosswise
8 ouncessemisweet chocolate chips, feves, or chopped bar, melted
1(7-ounce) baglady fingers
Soak half the sliced figs in the hot coffee for 10 minutes, or while you assemble the rest of the cake. Drain the figs on a paper towel lined plate and reserve the coffee.
Whip the cream, adding in the confectioner’s sugar in 1 tablespoon increments and vanilla once it starts thickening. As you start seeing soft peaks, scoop in the mascarpone and finish whipping.
Then, mist the pan with cooking spray. Spread a thick layer of whipped mascarpone cream on the bottom. Crumble half a sleeve of ladyfingers evenly over the whipped cream. Dot the coffee-soaked figs across the crumbled lady fingers. Drizzle the chocolate with a fork, reserving 1 tablespoon of chocolate. Cover with a layer of half the remaining whipped cream.
Layer the remaining lady fingers on top. Spread the remaining whipped cream on top of the ladyfinger layer. Using a spoon, dollop the remaining melted chocolate in several places on top, dragging a chopstick or skewer through them to swirl the chocolate. Polka dot the remaining unsoaked fig slices across the top.
Chill for 4 hours or longer before slicing so the cake sets.
If you want more of a tiramisu-style dessert, swap in the following instruction in place of step 4 above: Quickly soak the remaining ladyfingers in the reserved coffee dipping and turning each one before placing them atop and covering the fig chocolate layer. Spread the remaining whipped cream on top of the ladyfinger layer. Using a spoon, dollop the remaining melted chocolate in several places on top, dragging a chopstick or skewer through them to swirl the chocolate. Polka dot the remaining unsoaked fig slices across the top.
At dessert time, some people have a sweet tooth and others go for a cheese plate. This Brie en croute appeals to both sensibilities or make it for a sweet appetizer. You can also add it as an unexpected addition to a cheeseboard. Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Dried Figs pair magically in this baked Brie en croute recipe with semisweet chocolate. Encased inside the pastry, slice into Marin French Cheese’s Petite Breakfast wheel, perfectly portioned to go inside croissant dough. We used the packaged croissant dough from Immaculate Baking Company, but use whatever packaged croissant dough is available, just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s oven temperature and cooking time on the packaging.
3/4cup (4.5-ounces)stemmed, minced Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
1/4teaspoonRodelle pure vanilla extract
2ounceschopped semisweet chocolate, divided
1 Marin French Petite Breakfast Brie wheel
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cook the figs, water, honey, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has cooked off, about 8 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir half of the chocolate into the figs.
Meanwhile, arrange the triangles of croissant dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet into the shape of a star or flower, pressing down to adhere the wide ends to each other, fanning out the long skinny sides like a flower. There will be an empty space in the middle, so fill it with dough, pressing down to adhere it.
Spread 3/4 of the chocolate fig mixture into the middle and ¼ of the way up each "petal" of dough. It will resemble the middle of a sunflower. Set the Brie wheel into the middle. Spread the remaining chocolate fig mixture on top of the Brie. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate on top of the Brie—it’s okay if chocolate falls along the bottom of the Brie wheel. Fold up the petals of the dough into the middle, pressing the tips into one another well, at the top.
Bake until golden brown, about 17-19 minutes. Transfer to a cheeseboard outfitted with fruit, nuts, and crackers.
If you’ve wondered how to make babka, this version of the popular bread with a ribbon of chocolate and Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs running through it is a great place to start. Babka sometimes has one slice of the bread without any filling, but in our book every bite should have filling! By reserving the extra 2 tablespoons of the chocolate fig spread, you can ensure that flavorful swirl is in every slice. Bake a loaf of this babka recipe to serve at breakfast as toasted or French toast. You can even serve it for lunch as a peanut butter jelly sandwich—but make sure to wait and slice the bread once it’s completely cool, otherwise it will be gummy inside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and warm milk. Let stand for 5 to 7 minutes until mixture is foamy.
Add remaining sugar, egg yolks, and egg. Whisk together until well incorporated.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add half of flour mixture to mixing bowl. Attach dough hook to stand mixer and mix on low speed until dough resembles a shaggy mess, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add softened butter one tablespoon at a time. Add remaining flour mixture and continue to knead at medium speed until dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the sides of the mixing bowl, about 4 minutes.
Transfer dough to a greased large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest at room temperature for 70 to 90 minutes, until dough has doubled in volume.
Punch down risen dough. Recover with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (up to 4 hours), until dough is cold.
Make the Chocolate Fig Filling
Place stemmed figs and water in a small heavy-bottomed saucepot. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow figs to soften, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain figs and discard water.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine warm figs, chocolate, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Process until mixture resembles jam. Scrape down bowl as necessary to ensure thorough mixing. Allow mixture to cool slightly before adding egg whites. Pulse 2 to 3 times until egg whites are just incorporated. Transfer to an airtight container and keep chilled in the fridge until assembly.
Working on a lightly floured surface, roll chilled dough to an 18x14-inch rectangle. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of chocolate fig filling. Spread remaining filling over dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges, so that it doesn’t ooze out. Beginning at the longer end, roll dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seams closed.
With dough seam side up, spread the reserved filling over the seam. Bring one end of dough over to the other end and then pinch the ends together, thus sandwiching the filling, to create a log. You’ll see some filling on the outside.
Gently twist the log, left hand going one way and right hand going the other, until it resembles a figure eight with swirls of filling peeking through. Place twisted roll in a greased 9x4-inch loaf pan. Gently press dough to distribute it to the edges of the pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at room temperature until dough is level with the lip of the loaf pan, about 70 minutes.
Whisk together egg, water, and salt until well combined.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly brush the top of the risen dough with egg wash. Bake for 45-50 minutes, rotating loaf midway through baking. Bake until the top of the bread is golden brown and the internal temperature of bread registers at least 190°F. Allow bread to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan and allow it to cool to room temperature on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Allow bread to completely cool before slicing with a serrated knife.
The combination of chocolate, Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, walnuts and orange zest gives these breakfast buns an unexpected and luscious filling. Top them with an orange glaze and these chocolate buns, once baked, are pretty to look at and full of fruity fig flavor.
The dough, akin to brioche dough but easier to make, is a dream to roll out; just give it a five-minute rest under a tea towel if it starts to shrink as you roll it to allow the gluten to relax. If your kitchen is cold, make use of your oven as a proof box. Turn the oven to its lowest setting and then turn it off. Once the oven has cooled down a bit, place the dough bowl in the oven to rise. Repeat with the rolls for the second rising when you are getting ready to bake them.
You can either make and bake the chocolate buns on the same day, or refrigerate them overnight and bake them in the morning. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to such a treat?
California Fig Swirl Chocolate Buns are perfect for Christmas but these breakfast buns can make any morning more festive.
8tablespoonunsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly(4 ounces / 1 stick)
3 1/4cupsall-purpose flour(plus more for rolling)
2 1/2 teaspoonsinstant yeast
4 ouncesBlue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs,stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
4ounces60 percent chocolate chips(about 3/4 cups)
1egg,thoroughly beaten with a fork
1 1/2cupsconfectioner's sugar
2 tablespoonsbutter, softened
Pinch of salt
4 to 5tablespoonsfresh orange juice
Make the Dough
Lightly oil a large bowl. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and line the bottom and the 2 long sides with baker’s parchment. If the room is cold, set the oven at its lowest temperature. When it is heated, turn it off.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a hand whisk, whisk the eggs, butter, milk, sugar and salt until blended. Add half the flour and the yeast. With the paddle attachment at medium-high speed, beat for 1 minute.
Switch to the dough hook. Set the mixer on low speed and gradually add the remaining flour. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the oiled bowl. Turn the ball so it is coated lightly with oil. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until doubled. If the room is cold, let the dough rise in the turned-off oven.
Make the Filling
In a food processor, combine the figs, walnuts, orange zest, cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar and salt. Process until figs and nuts are finely chopped.
In a saucepan over low heat, stir the chocolate and butter together until melted. Add the fig mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
Assemble and Bake
On a floured work surface, roll the dough into a 14-inch square. Spread the filling evenly over the dough. Beginning with the edge nearest you, roll the dough into an even cylinder. Pinch the seam to seal and turn the log so the seam side is down.
With a paring knife, mark the log into 12 even pieces. Slide a 12-inch strand of unflavored dental floss or thread under the log. Cross the ends and pull tight to cut the log into 12 slices.
Place the slices, cut side up, in the baking pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until the dough is puffy and soft and the rolls are almost touching. (For overnight rolls, do not let rise. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before baking.)
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350º F. Brush the rolls with the egg wash. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. (The internal temperature should be 190ºF to 205ºF.) Let cool slightly before glazing.
In a bowl, stir together the confectioner’s sugar, butter, salt and orange juice until smooth.
Cookies for breakfast? Why not! These Chocolate Breakfast Cookies are chalk full of wholesome ingredients including hearty oats with Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs. Feel free to use either almond flour or almond meal in this breakfast cookie recipe. You could use dark sweet Mission dried figs or slightly nutty golden dried figs. Serve these sweet morning treats at a brunch with our slightly savory California Fig & Camembert Muffins for two ways to enjoy figs first thing in the morning.
1cup (160g)stemmed, chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs
1/2cup (55g)chopped pecans
1/4cup (50g)chopped bittersweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper or silpat liners.
Whisk together the almond flour, coconut sugar, oatmeal, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
Whisk together the oil, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, and then fold in the figs, pecans, and chocolate.
Use a 1 1/2-tablespoon scoop to measure out the dough and roll it into balls. Arrange the balls of dough on the cookie trays (I bake 12 cookies per large baking tray), slightly flatten each ball, and bake until they’re golden on the bottom, about 8 to 12 minutes, rotating the trays once halfway through.
Let the cookies cool completely on the trays before removing with a thin metal spatula.
Store the cookies in an airtight container layered between parchment paper for up to 2 days, and then store them in the fridge for up to 5 days more. (Serving Tip: After they’ve been refrigerated I like to heat them in in a toaster oven before serving.)